At first glance, addiction may seem like mostly a physical issue – something you’re putting in your body. However, as satisfying an addiction becomes an all-consuming obsession affecting your every thought, continued drug use can have very devastating impacts on your mind, your body, and on the whole person.
Your health, mental functioning, relationships, and every aspect of your self become dysfunctional and out of alignment. This means that the process of recovery has to also be holistic, meaning that it goes after every aspect of your self, pursuing healing in all areas of body, mind, and spirit.
Recovery programs rooted in the rich traditions of seeking to follow Jesus offer many invaluable resources to help someone in the throws of addiction heal and receive “life abundantly” (John 10:10).
It’s Not Just About Staying Stopped
Although it may seem like the most urgent problem in your life while under its grip, addiction often develops as a coping mechanism and a way of masking deeper issues and hurts. Drug dependence both comes out of and builds up faulty “core values,” or the thoughts and beliefs we use to solve problems, cope with life, and bring relief.
That is why full recovery is not only an issue of building up will power, but of healing the whole person and correcting these core-beliefs. Getting rid of your addiction is going to mean abandoning these faulty thought patterns and beliefs.
Christian teaching about God’s love for you and the truth of who you are in Christ can fill the void left by abandoning these untruths, giving you something to truly stand on in living a successful, healthy, sober life.
Caring for Your Body is good for the Soul
God has created your body to be as a vessel to contain your soul. We are not floating, disembodied spirits unaffected by the physical world. Rather, our bodies are the central way we receive and respond to God’s work in the world. It is only through our bodies that we are able to live, pray, help others, and it is only through our bodies that we fall into patterns of addiction.
The unhealthy, all-consuming roller-coaster lifestyle of craving, use, inhibition, and withdraw wrecks havoc on both your physical self and the state of your soul. Replacing that pattern with a healthy pattern of regular sleep, healthy eating, doing things that lead to a happy and fulfilling life, active physical activity, and doing good things for others, are all ways to care for your body.
This sets up patterns to learn how to love and care for yourself, and this mindset of self-love that is going to be essential as you change your lifestyle to be more in line with your body’s, mind’s, and spirit’s needs.
Working Towards Balance
Many people in recovery have found prayer to be a vital part of their recovery program. Christians in particular believe that personal transformation occurs when the Holy Spirit works in a soul surrendered to God. Having an active spiritual life realigns your thinking to what really matters, replacing the lies addiction tells you with the truth of how deeply you are loved by God.
Active spirituality is just a part of a pie that should go into your recovery. Build up your physical health by sleeping, eating, and being active helps you gain the strength to pursue healing. Build up your mental health by taking up new activities and challenges, occupying your mind and reminding yourself you are capable of being much more than an addict.
Through the support of both professional counselors and peer support groups, get in touch with your emotional, social, and mental health, using supportive relationships to create a safe space for learning about yourself and surmounting challenges. Living this way, in balanced alignment and careful self-care in all these areas of human thriving is going to be the best way to truly come out of recovery stronger and more hopeful than ever.
photo credit: Hugo Kerr via Unsplash